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States, and must be a resident of a county or parish included in the election district.
He may be registered if he has been such citizen for a period less than twelve months
at the time he applies for registration, but he can not vote at any election unless his
citizenship has then extended to the full term of one year.
As to such a person, the
exact length of his citizenship should be noted opposite his name on the list, so that
it may appear on the day of election, upon reference to the list, whether the full term
has then been accomplished.

Concurred in unanimously.

4. An unnaturalized person can not take this oath, but an alien who has been naturalized can take it, and no other proof of naturalization can be required from him. All vote "aye" except the Secretary of War, who votes "nay."

5. No one who is not 21 years of age at the time of registration can take the oath, for he must swear that he has then attained that age.

Concurred in unanimously.

6. No one who has been disfranchised for participation in any rebellion against the United States or for felony committed against the laws of any State or of the United States can take this oath.

The actual participation in a rebellion or the actual commission of a felony does not amount to disfranchisement. The sort of disfranchisement here meant is that which is declared by law passed by competent authority, or which has been fixed upon the criminal by the sentence of the court which tried him for the crime.

No law of the United States has declared the penalty of disfranchisement for participation in rebellion alone; nor is it known that any such law exists in either of these ten States, except, perhaps, Virginia, as to which State special instructions will be given.

All vote "aye" except the Secretary of War, who dissents as to the second and third paragraphs.

7. As to disfranchisement arising from having held office followed by participation in rebellion:

This is the most important part of the oath, and requires strict attention to arrive at its meaning. The applicant must swear or affirm as foï ows:

"That I have never been a member of any State legislature, nor held any executive or judicial office in any State, and afterwards engaged in an insurrection or rebellion against the United States or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof; that I have never taken an oath as a member of Congress of the United States, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, and afterwards engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the United States or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof."

Two elements must concur in order to disqualify a person under these clauses: First, the office and official oath to support the Constitution of the United States; second, engaging afterwards in rebellion. Both must exist to work disqualification, and must happen in the order of time mentioned.

A person who has held an office and taken the oath to support the Federal Constitution and has not afterwards engaged in rebellion is not disqualified. So, too, a person who has engaged in rebellion, but has not theretofore held an office and taken that oath, is not disqualified.

All vote "aye" except the Secretary of War, who votes "nay."

8. Officers of the United States:

As to these the language is without limitation. The person who has at any time prior to the rebellion held any office, civil or military, under the United States, and has taken an official oath to support the Constitution of the United States, is subject to disqualification.

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9. Militia officers of any State prior to the rebellion are not subject to disqualification.

All vote "aye" except the Secretary of War, who votes "nay.”

10. Municipal officers—that is to say, officers of incorporated cities, towns, and villages, such as mayors, aldermen, town council, police, and other city or town officersare not subject to disqualification.

Concurred in unanimously.

II. Persons who have prior to the rebellion been members of the Congress of the United States or members of a State legislature are subject to disqualification, but those who have been members of conventions framing or amending the constitution of a State prior to the rebellion are not subject to disqualification.

Concurred in unanimously.

12. All the executive or judicial officers of any State who took an oath to support the Constitution of the United States are subject to disqualification, including county officers. They are subject to disqualification if they were required to take as a part of their official oath the oath to support the Constitution of the United States

Concurred in unanimously.

13. Persons who exercised mere employments under State authority are not disqualified; such as commissioners to lay out roads, commissioners of public works, visitors of State institutions, directors of State institutions, examiners of banks, notaries public, commissioners to take acknowledgments of deeds.

Concurred in unanimously; but the Secretary of State, the Secretary of the Treasury, and the Secretary of War express the opinion that lawyers are such officers as are disqualified if they participated in the rebellion. Two things must exist as to any person to disqualify him from voting: First, the office held prior to the rebellion, and, afterwards, participation in the rebellion.

14. An act to fix upon a person the offense of engaging in rebellion under this law must be an overt and voluntary act, done with the intent of aiding or furthering the common unlawful purpose. A person forced into the rebel service by conscription or under a paramount authority which he could not safely disobey, and who would not have entered such service if left to the free exercise of his own will, can not be held to be disqualified from voting.

All vote "aye" except the Secretary of War, who votes “nay" as the proposition is stated.

15. Mere acts of charity, where the intent is to relieve the wants of the object of such charity, and not done in aid of the cause in which he may have been engaged, do not disqualify; but organized contributions of food and clothing for the general relief of persons engaged in the rebellion, and not of a merely sanitary character, but contributed to enable them to perform their unlawful object, may be classed with acts which do disqualify. Forced contributions to the rebel cause in the form of taxes or military assessments, which a person was compelled to pay or contribute, do not disqualify; but voluntary contributions to the rebel cause, even such indirect contributions as arise from the voluntary loan of money to the rebel authorities or purchase of bonds or securities created to afford the means of carrying on the rebellion, will work disqualification.

Concurred in unanimously.

16. All those who in legislative or other official capacity were engaged in the furtherance of the common unlawful purpose, where the duties of the office necessarily had relation to the support of the rebellion, such as members of the rebel conventions, congresses, and legislatures, diplomatic agents of the rebel Confederacy, and other officials whose offices were created for the purpose of more effectually carrying on hostilities or whose duties appertained to the support of the rebel cause, must be held to be disqualified; but officers who during the rebellion discharged official duties not incident to war, but only such duties as belong even to a state of peace and were

necessary to the preservation of order and the administration of law, are not to be considered as thereby engaging in rebellion or as disqualified. Disloyal sentiments, opinions, or sympathies would not disqualify, but where a person has by speech or writing incited others to engage in rebellion he must come under the disqualification.

All vote "aye" except the Secretary of War, who dissents to the second paragraph, with the exception of the words "where a person has by speech or by writing incited others to engage in rebellion he must come under the disqualification."

17. The duties of the board appointed to superintend the elections.

This board, having the custody of the list of registered voters in the district for which it is constituted, must see that the name of the person offering to vote is found upon the registration list, and if such proves to be the fact it is the duty of the board to receive his vote if then qualified by residence. They can not receive the vote of any person whose name is not upon the list, though he may be ready to take the registration oath, and although he may satisfy them that he was unable to have his name registered at the proper time, in consequence of absence, sickness, or other cause.

The board can not enter into any inquiry as to the qualifications of any person whose name is not on the registration list, or as to the qualifications of any person whose name is on that list.

Concurred in unanimously.

18. The mode of voting is provided in the act to be by ballot. The board will keep a record and poll book of the election, showing the votes, list of voters, and the persons elected by a plurality of the votes cast at the election, and make returns of these to the commanding general of the district.

Concurred in unanimously.

19. The board appointed for registration and for superintending the elections must take the oath prescribed by the act of Congress approved July 2, 1862, entitled "An act to prescribe an oath of office."

Concurred in unanimously.

IN CABINET, June 20, 1867. Present: The same Cabinet officers as on the 18th, except the Acting Secretary of the Interior.

The President announced to the Cabinet that after full deliberation he concurred with the majority upon the sections of the summary upon which the Secretary of War expressed his dissent, and that he concurred with the Cabinet upon those sections approved by unanimous vote; that as it appeared the military commanders entertained doubts upon the points covered by the summary, and as their action hitherto had not been uniform, he deemed it proper, without further delay, to communicate in a general order* to the respective commanders the points set forth in the summary.


WASHINGTON, March 23, 1867.

To the House of Representatives:

I have considered the bill entitled "An act supplementary to an act entitled 'An act to provide for the more efficient government of the rebel States,' passed March 2, 1867, and to facilitate restoration," and now return it to the House of Representatives with my objections.

This bill provides for elections in the ten States brought under the operation of the original act to which it is supplementary. Its details are

*See Executive order of June 20, 1867, pp. 552-556.


principally directed to the elections for the formation of the State constitutions, but by the sixth section of the bill "all elections" in these States occurring while the original act remains in force are brought within its purview. Referring to these details, it will be found that, first of all, there is to be a registration of the voters. No one whose name has not been admitted on the list is to be allowed to vote at any of these elections. To ascertain who is entitled to registration, reference is made necessary, by the express language of the supplement, to the original act and to the pending bill. The fifth section of the original act provides, as to voters, that they shall be "male citizens of the State, 21 years old and upward, of whatever race, color, or previous condition, who have been residents of said State for one year." This is the general qualification, followed, however, by many exceptions. No one can be registered, according to the original act, "who may be disfranchised for participation in the rebellion"-a provision which left undetermined the question as to what amounted to disfranchisement, and whether without a judicial sentence the act itself produced that effect. This supplemental bill superadds an oath, to be taken by every person before his name can be admitted upon the registration, that he has "not been disfranchised for participation in any rebellion or civil war against the United States." It thus imposes upon every person the necessity and responsibility of deciding for himself, under the peril of punishment by a military commission if he makes a mistake, what works disfranchisement by participation in rebellion and what amounts to such participation. Almost every manthe negro as well as the white-above 21 years of age who was resident in these ten States during the rebellion, voluntarily or involuntarily, at some time and in some way did participate in resistance to the lawful authority of the General Government. The question with the citizen to whom this oath is to be proposed must be a fearful one, for while the bill does not declare that perjury may be assigned for such false swearing nor fix any penalty for the offense, we must not forget that martial law prevails; that every person is answerable to a military commission, without previous presentment by a grand jury, for any charge that may be made against him, and that the supreme authority of the military commander determines the question as to what is an offense and what is to be the measure of punishment.

The fourth section of the bill provides "that the commanding general of each district shall appoint as many boards of registration as may be necessary, consisting of three loyal officers or persons." The only qualification stated for these officers is that they must be "loyal." They may be persons in the military service or civilians, residents of the State or strangers. Yet these persons are to exercise most important duties and are vested with unlimited discretion. They are to decide what names shall be placed upon the register and from their decision there is to be no appeal. They are to superintend the elections and to decide all ques

tions which may arise. They are to have the custody of the ballots and to make return of the persons elected. Whatever frauds or errors they may commit must pass without redress. All that is left for the commanding general is to receive the returns of the elections, open the same, and ascertain who are chosen "according to the returns of the officers who conducted said elections." By such means and with this sort of agency are the conventions of delegates to be constituted.

As the delegates are to speak for the people, common justice would seem to require that they should have authority from the people themselves. No convention so constituted will in any sense represent the wishes of the inhabitants of these States, for under the all-embracing exceptions of these laws, by a construction which the uncertainty of the clause as to disfranchisement leaves open to the board of officers, the great body of the people may be excluded from the polls and from all opportunity of expressing their own wishes or voting for delegates who will faithfully reflect their sentiments.

I do not deem it necessary further to investigate the details of this bill. No consideration could induce me to give my approval to such an election law for any purpose, and especially for the great purpose of framing the constitution of a State. If ever the American citizen should be left to the free exercise of his own judgment it is when he is engaged in the work of forming the fundamental law under which he is to live. That work is his work, and it can not properly be taken out of his hands. All this legislation proceeds upon the contrary assumption that the people of each of these States shall have no constitution except such as may be arbitrarily dictated by Congress and formed under the restraint of military rule. A plain statement of facts makes this evident.

In all these States there are existing constitutions, framed in the accustomed way by the people. Congress, however, declares that these constitutions are not "loyal and republican," and requires the people to form them anew. What, then, in the opinion of Congress, is necessary to make the constitution of a State "loyal and republican"? The original act answers the question: It is universal negro suffrage—a question which the Federal Constitution leaves exclusively to the States themselves. All this legislative machinery of martial law, military coercion, and political disfranchisement is avowedly for that purpose and none other. The existing constitutions of the ten States conform to the acknowledged standards of loyalty and republicanism. Indeed, if there are degrees in republican forms of government, their constitutions are more republican now than when these States, four of which were members of the original thirteen, first became members of the Union.

Congress does not now demand that a single provision of their constitutions be changed except such as confine suffrage to the white population. It is apparent, therefore, that these provisions do not conform to the standard of republicanism which Congress seeks to establish. That

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